A computer monitor showing a game
Luca Lorenzelli/Shutterstock.com

Whether you are working or gaming on a PC, you always want to have the best experience in terms of image quality and resolution. In this article, we’ll compare two common screen resolutions, which are 1080p and 1440p.

A Brief History of Screen Resolution

Along with the actual screen size and panel type, screen resolution is one of the factors that determines a screen’s quality. So, it’s crucial that you understand what it is all about when shopping for a new monitor.

Screen resolution defines the dimension of a display in terms of pixels. It’s generally measured in width and height. As an example, a screen resolution of 720p has a dimension of 1280×720 pixels, giving you a total of 921,600 pixels spread across the screen.

In the past, screen resolutions typically fell between standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD). SD indicates a video resolution below 720p. The advancement of technology has made it possible to reach HD-level, and it paved the way for higher qualities such as Full HD and Quad HD.

Full HD, or more commonly referred to as 1080p, has become the industry standard for most display devices, including monitors, smartphones, and televisions. Its dimension of 1920×1080 pixels offers you a far better resolution and viewing experience compared to its predecessors.

Another big name in the industry is Quad HD, also known as 1440p. This display is known for its progressive resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. In turn, this makes it the ideal display for gaming and other tasks with a high demand for graphics rendering and processing.

The Differences Between 1440p and 1080p

When talking about screen resolution, more pixels generally indicate a higher image quality. With this notion, 1440p will always be far ahead of 1080p regarding display output. However, there are other aspects that you will need to consider before you acquire a new monitor.

When purchasing a high-quality monitor, you’ll need to factor in your budget and your computer’s performance. Between the two, expect 1080p to be less expensive and do the job of providing you high-quality image outputs for most of your digital work. But, if you’re willing to pay extra for a more immersive experience, 1440p will not disappoint and may even exceed your expectations.

Now that you know what separates the two screen resolutions, let’s dig deeper into their benefits to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

Advantages of 1080p

Today, most programs are optimized for at least 1080p screen resolution. Because of this, you’ll be satisfied most of the time with its performance and you also get to enjoy the following benefits.

  • It will use less energy and computing power. Since 1080p uses fewer pixels than 1440p, your computer should be able to handle it at a faster rate with lower power consumption.
  • It’s currently the standard screen resolution. You won’t be disappointed in acquiring a 1080p monitor as this is the most commonly used screen resolution across different platforms.
  • You’ll save money. 1080p monitors, even at larger displays like 27 inches, are much more affordable and cheaper than 1440p monitors.

RELATED: How to See Power Usage in Windows 10's Task Manager

Advantages of 1440p

If you’re meticulous when it comes to aesthetics, 1440p will undoubtedly be your preference over 1080p. Let’s also take a look at the advantages of having this resolution.

  • You get a more vivid output. 1440p is called Quad HD for this reason. With this resolution, your viewing and gaming experience will level up to a whole new dimension. You’ll be able to see fine-grained graphical elements on your screen and you get to appreciate the quality of each image.
  • It sharpens images. With Quad HD, you’ll easily notice almost every single element on your screen—even the smallest details. It has more pixels on the display, allowing you to zoom out without compromising the sharpness of the images.
  • You’ll get a larger workspace. Besides gamers, video editors and other tech professionals opt for 1440p monitors because these can increase productivity. Even though your monitor is still the standard 24 inches, the 1440p resolution lets you shrink your display without losing readability in text.

Which Is Better: 1080p or 1440p?

It’s clear that 1440p is better if you’re willing to shell out the money for it. Despite that, there are a few more things you need to keep in mind.

You also need to consider your computer’s performance capacity before deciding to purchase a 1440p monitor. If your PC is prehistoric or overburdened already, hooking it to a Quad HD monitor will simply make things worse (especially for your graphics card). In this case, a 1080p monitor is your best bet.

On top of that, you may have a different opinion depending on what you use your monitor for.

Which Is Better for Gaming?

For some games, 1440p is definitely superior to 1080p because of its higher quality giving you a better, more immersive image. Having this type of monitor gives you an advantage as you may be able to immediately notice the elements in your game no matter how small they are.

Video games like the Witcher or Red Dead Redemption 2 will look breathtaking on a 1440p display. If you’re a fan of open-world games, a 1440p monitor will make you love them even more. In fact, you may find yourself hooked on the beautiful sceneries enhanced further by the high screen resolution.

Of course, this is all assuming that you have an average to high-end PC that won’t be slowed down by the higher output. We don’t recommend getting a 1440p monitor for gaming unless your computer can play games past 200 FPS for fast-paced shooters or 120 FPS for scenic games.

For fast-paced shooters like Valorant and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, 1440p doesn’t really matter. With games like that, you’re too attentive to the mental game in your mind and your aim with the mouse to care about the graphics.

Which Is Better for Working?

Most professionals opt for a dual monitor or widescreen setup because it improves productivity. Although these setups can be configured to all types of monitors, a 1440p monitor is more visually appealing.

Woman editing videos on a large computer monitor

The best part about 1440p displays is that you can shrink your entire display interface without losing out on quality. Even at a lower display scale of 75 percent, applications and texts will still be easy to read and clear to your eyes. This lets you open more windows at once and feel like you’re using a larger monitor than you really are.

You might even use a 1440p monitor more often for work rather than gaming. Creatives like YouTubers, video and photo editors, as well as programmers benefit a ton from the extra resolution and better display.

Why Not 4K or 8K?

Not long after 1440p was introduced, higher resolutions like 4K and 8K appeared. These resolutions dominate the former in terms of output, but they may not be worth the upgrade for general computing purposes.

What to Consider Before Going 1440p

1440p is the ideal monitor in all categories, but only if you and your desktop system can afford it. When upgrading to this resolution, expect that it may consume more power than 1080p because of the higher number of pixels that need to be generated. Performance-wise, 1440p will demand more from your PC. Keep all this in mind when making your purchase decision.

RELATED: The Best Computer Monitors

Profile Photo for Mako Young Mako Young
Mako Young is a Computer Science graduate turned writer for How-To Geek. He's a tech enthusiast who has written tons of tutorials, technical articles, and blog posts. From tweaking hardware components to fixing software bugs, Mako is constantly experimenting with technology. His computer has been through hell and back, troubleshooting problems and testing out solutions.
Read Full Bio »